John Belden, técnico de conexión de cables, agrega cables de fibra en una intersección en Trumbull. “Somos las personas que no ves”, dijo Belden. Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

This story has been updated.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of CT Mirror’s Spanish-language news coverage developed in partnership with Identidad Latina Multimedia.

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Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents — and thousands of small businesses — lack affordable, high-speed internet. But work to deploy broadband access and close equity gaps is underway.

And it may soon be easier for consumers to find complete internet pricing information, thanks to new rules surrounding internet transparency and a growing acknowledgement that affordable, high-speed internet is a public necessity in the modern world.

Here’s what to know about how high-speed internet is changing in Connecticut.

Some leaders want the internet to be regulated like a utility.

While high-speed internet has become as necessary as any utility in everyday life, it isn’t like gas, water and electric utilities in Connecticut, which are heavily regulated and required to outline their pricing structures.

But there are new rules in the works to improve internet price transparency.

The Federal Communications Commission will soon require companies to provide standardized “broadband nutrition labels,” publicly listing their prices, promotional rates, data limits, broadband speeds, and other information on the services they offer. 

Connecticut’s Office of State Broadband has called for additions to the “nutrition labels,” such as discounts and surcharges, equipment rental prices, cancellation and other fees, bundle prices and variable pricing, among other data points.

[READ MORE: Internet ‘nutrition labels’ seek to make charges more transparent]

Connecticut is receiving federal funding to expand high-speed internet access.

Connecticut is designated to receive tens of millions of dollars across two federal programs to expand high-speed internet access, affordability and adoption across the state.

ARPA’s Capital Projects Fund provided money to create the Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program, a grant program designed to expand broadband access to at least 10,000 households and businesses across the state and provide some subsidies to help pay for the service. State officials are working with major telecommunications companies to identify which areas to prioritize in Connecticut.

Connecticut also received a grant from the U.S. Commerce Department to plan the statewide deployment and adoption of high-speed internet. The initial $5.7 million grant will open the door to a potential $100 million in federal funding over the next five years.

Does my area of CT have high-speed internet access?

Most of Connecticut is wired for high-speed internet, but some areas remain underserviced. The state office of broadband has been gathering information on the highest-need areas, which are primarily rural and some isolated city neighborhoods.

Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents aren’t served by a high-speed internet connection (which the FCC considers 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload). And several thousand locations across the state still lack a broadband connection of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

How do I find affordable internet?

The federal government is spending billions of dollars to help subsidize internet service for low-income Americans through an initiative called the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The program allows those who qualify to save up to $30 a month on their internet fees. Qualification is based on annual household income or participation in federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, free and reduced-price school lunch or section 8 housing.

Nearly 150,000 Connecticut residents have already signed up for these subsidies. Residents can check the full eligibility requirements and apply for the program here.

Additionally, several providers offer low-cost plans, but don’t always widely advertise them. In Connecticut, Cox, Xfinity, Frontier and Spectrum are among the companies that provide discounted internet to qualifying households.

Is there help for people who don't have an internet device or aren't comfortable navigating the internet?

Lots of resources are available to assist with broadband adoption.

Several local libraries host “digital navigator” programs that allow attendees to receive a computer and learn internet skills, and organizations like the AARP offer digital skills training.


This story was updated to clarify that high-speed internet meets the FCC’s standard of “served” at 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. Broadband is currently defined as speeds of 20 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

Finding answers to big questions in Connecticut. CT Mirror Explains is an ongoing effort to distill our wide-ranging reporting on Connecticut topics into a "what you need to know" format.